It’s been a hectic last few weeks at pay-TV company Dish.
Following its $320 million April acquisition of ailing Blockbuster, the company jockeyed for extra time to decide just what to do with remaining store leases held by the former rental leader, opting to shutter around 1,100 locations. And though no official plans have been announced, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said he believes Dish and Blockbuster will eventually enter the online streaming video space full-bore.
Today, the company announced two major events that pave the way for that move.
Dish Network and EchoStar have settled an ongoing patent dispute brought by TiVo for the tune of $500 million. The legal bad-blood between the programming giants started in 2004, with TiVo making some headway leading up to the out-of-court agreement.
So, what does half a billion dollars buy a giant corporation?
Besides the inherent happiness of having a massive lawsuit behind you, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen and TiVo president Tom Rogers agreed to share certain patents. EchoStar is now permitted to design and distribute DVR products as well.
Then, there’s the matter of the $500 million. $300 million will be paid to TiVo up front, with the remaining $200 million paid incrementally through 2017.
“We are extremely pleased to reach an agreement with DISH Network and EchoStar which recognizes the value of our intellectual property,” said Rogers in a statement.
Ergen echoed the sentiment, but no doubt through teeth clenched in only a way a $500 million settlement could make them: “We have tremendous respect for TiVo’s management, and we have always said that regardless of the outcome of the case, there were many ways that we could work together with TiVo.”
With the lawsuit finally behind it, the company also announced who would be taking the reigns at Blockbuster: long-time Dish executive vice president Michael Kelly.
Kelly was a lynchpin in the Blockbuster acquisition, says Ergen, who believes the appointment will lead to a return to form for the movie rental company.
No comment was made about the long-rumored Blockbuster/Dish online streaming service to rival Netflix, but if experts are to be believed it’s coming sooner rather than later.